Christian Kirksey, David Njoku, Terrance Mitchell and other Browns players visited Cudell Recreation Center with local first responders to support the Jr. Browns flag football league.
Browns linebacker Christian Kirksey and almost a dozen teammates brought the community, Cleveland police and emergency forces together as part of a continued effort to champion social justice causes in Northeast Ohio.
Kirksey and Co. hosted a flag football game Tuesday at the Cudell Recreation Center with young athletes who regularly visit the center before or after school and are part of the team's Jr. Browns Flag Football League.
"I think it's our job to be role models for kids, just going out here with the local safety forces around Cleveland. We're all being positive figures to these kids and being leaders," Kirksey said.
Kirksey was joined by tight end David Njoku, cornerback Terrance Mitchell, linebacker James Burgess, kicker Greg Joseph, wide receivers Derrick Willies and Damion Ratley, offensive lineman Earl Watford and defensive lineman Carl Davis. All took part in the flag football game, whether it was throwing passes or coaching up the kids on the field, and spent considerable time with those in attendance afterward.
The event is part of the Browns' larger mission to bring the Cleveland community together regardless of race, religion, gender or socioeconomic background. In the process, the team hopes to shine a light on important and often polarizing issues and act as something of a unifying force.
Tuesday's event comes as the team continues to hold various summits and events focused on addressing social justice issues, among them the relationship between police and the communities they serve.
"Today was great because it's always good to see the police engaging with the community, and seeing the impact that we make on kids at a younger age and having a positive impact is very important," said Cleveland police sergeant Vincent Montague. "We need people in the community to make it better, so we need the Browns, we need the police and the citizens in the community."
Kirksey, who has been among the team's most vocal and active figures off the field, hopes the Browns continue to have an impact going forward.
"That's what it's really about, just giving back to the community," he said.
"It's something bigger than you. That's why I'm here, that's why we're here."